Welcome to Friday Bangers and Mash-ups. Today we’re talking about the things we do for love. Love of family and love of writing.
I’ve been deceitful.
Every once in a while I have to “shape the truth” to get make certain I reach my writing goals. It’s not because my husband or my family aren’t supportive. They are. They love me, they know my writing career is important to me BUT after I’ve told them, “sorry no, I’m writing.” and they give me the look, I tend to fold a little. I have supportive friends but occasionally they get a little brusque when I pass up something fun in order to write.
Here’s a recent scenario with my husband,
Husband says, “Labor Day is coming up, why don’t we have Tim and Geri come out on Saturday and spend the night, then we can have the kids come on Sunday for a cook-out?”
There was a time when I would have agreed to this. I love to cook and enjoy entertaining. I love my friends, love my family, love having everyone over. Love my husband for suggesting this. BUT…
because of all life’s little curveballs and this new blogging and social media thing I’ve finally caught up with my writing goals and I’m determined to keep my momentum going. An entire weekend of entertaining would turn my new schedule upside down.
So I explained to my husband about keeping my mojo going and offered a sane compromise. Dinner out with friends instead of a stay-over and the kids coming out later in the day Sunday for a cook-out. I was building in my writing time as I spoke.
My husband is a reasonable man. He knows what writing means to me so he said okay. He was cheerful but his face betrayed him. He wasn’t even aware he’d given me “the look.”
I felt guilty.
Contrast Labor Day plans with the situation below:
I learned Kristen Lamb was going to teach her Blogging for Brand and High Concept online class in July. I needed this class but it was scheduled while I was on vacation and I would be gone almost three weeks of a month-long class. I was also traveling to an area with limited phone and internet access so I wouldn’t have a reliable internet connection.
I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by so I researched the area and found places where I could hook up to wireless internet. Wonder of wonders I found some coffee shops and even a miniature Starbucks 10 miles away. Places I could leave the boys behind and *ahem*… check my e-mails.
I didn’t tell my husband and son I was leaving to participate in a class. Why? I was on vacation for goodness sakes, that LOOK would be all over both their faces every time I walked out the door.
“You’re leaving us to learn about tweeting?”
Besides, telling them I needed to go to a coffee shop to check e-mails wasn’t exactly a lie. I was checking e-mails about writing while participating in a class.
No LOOKS at all when I packed up the laptop and trotted out the door.
I was happy, they were happy. I spent two or three hours in a coffee shop every other day and it was a relaxing vacation all the way around. Guilt free!
I went in search of other writers who “shape the truth.” In an interview in More magazine Katherine Stockett author of The Help admits to lying to her family.
“After rejection number 40, I started lying to friends about what I did on the weekends. (she was revising The Help) They were amazed by how many times a person can repaint her apartment.”
As rejections rolled in, Kathryn says it got worse. “I started lying to my husband. It was as if I was having an affair — with 10 black maids and a white skinny girl. After my daughter was born, I began sneaking off to hotels on weekends to get in a few hours of writing. I’m off to the Poconos! Off to a girls’ weekend I’d say. Meanwhile, I’d be at the Comfort Inn around the corner.”
Author Heather Sellers does it too, she devotes a whole chapter to ‘Strategic Deceit.’ in her book Chapter After Chapter. She says, “Having the support of my family and friends is crucially important to me–it’s a big part of my writing process. When I feel like I’m letting people down I get depressed and cranky, and I can’t work.”
I want to point out here I’m not neglecting my duties as wife, mother, friend or dog owner in any way shape or form. I’m committed to my friends and family and I’m committed to my writing.
I’m all for a different version of reality if it results in a productive day or it keeps you marching steadily toward your goals.
So here’s your chance to fess up. Have you ever bent the truth in order to avoid feeling guilty about spending so much time writing? This isn’t just a woman thing. Come on guys, there has to be one time when you told a buddy you were “working out” when you were stuck at your desk “working out” a plot issue.
Please leave your *confessions* in the comment section. You’ll feel better and I’ll know I’m in good company. Thanks!
Bangers and Mash-ups This Week: It’s all about the writing this week:
A class worthy of my deceit: Kristen Lamb will be teaching her Blogging to Build Your Brand class again in October.
Need help learning how to write a query or pitch to editors? Pitch University is jam-packed with info on how to dazzle them.